Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 26

Thursday 23 April 2020

Dear AOA Member,

Today we had a useful roundtable discussion with HMT, BEIS and the British Business Bank on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). The latter has only been up and running since Monday but HMT are willing to receive feedback early on. We fed in a number of points, particularly around the lending cap not being necessarily sufficient for an aviation context, where day-to-day operations are ongoing at high fixed costs, and echoed the points made by other sectors on the importance of repayment terms needing to take into account a slow economic recovery, with some sectors more affected than others.

In response to our point on the lending cap, HMT officials said they had already moved on the basis of feedback from AOA, CBI and others on the initial cap for CLBILS. They are interested to hear how the scheme is operating and have asked all trade associations on the call for further evidence on the issues with CBILS and CLBILS caps. We would welcome feedback from airport members in particular but wider members also, in confidence, on :

  • Have you decided to take up the loans? If not, would that be due to the loan limits and criteria requested by banks that may act as a deterrent?
  • Are the current caps (£5m for business with turnover <£45m, £25m for businesses with turnover £45m-£500m and £50m for all other firms) limiting the usefulness of CBILS and CLBILS?
  • Would you be more interested in taking up these schemes if the Government decided to look at the increasing the caps?
  • Do you have any other points on the loan schemes?

Earlier this week, I raised the letter Border Force had sent to airports on PPE and other health-related measures. We have  since discussed this with Border Force and DfT. We made clear that the appropriate forum for discussion of additional measures in any part of the airport would be the DfT’s restart and recovery work. We need to move as one industry on these issues, so there is a consistent environment for all passengers and staff in UK airports.

While on the subject of the DfT restart and recovery unit, thank you very much for your feedback to yesterday’s COVID-19 update. We have been able to gather some helpful suggestions and offers of assistance, which we will either pass on to DfT or use to inform our work and input. Our primary focus will be on getting a baseline agreed on the necessary health measures, as a lot will flow from that. Crucial for that will be not to reinvent the wheel: we should build on the experience following SARS and how airports in Asia-Pacific are adapting to the current crisis.
Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive